Youth Outcomes and Experiences

Bringing youth perspectives into your evaluation activities

Young people can provide important insights on your program, and on the ways that the program has affected them. It is important to take their perspectives into account as you think about your evaluation activities.

What are youth development outcomes?

Youth skills (i.e. non-cognitive or social and emotional competencies) develop over time in high-quality youth program settings. Ideally, these skills are transferable to other settings, resulting in improved school, work, and life outcomes. Youth beliefs and attitudes are the ways that young people experience your program. Both can provide useful information to an evaluation.

How are youth development outcomes measured?

There are a number of different ways of measuring youth skills. You can ask youth to assess themselves (through surveys or interviews) or one can ask for teacher, parent, or staff assessments. You can also use performance tasks or official records (usually school records) as indicators of skill development. Information on beliefs and attitudes should be collected directly from youth, either through surveys, interviews, or focus groups. In all cases, the methods used should be chosen based on their validity, reliability, availability, and appropriateness.

The resources in this section can help you to choose appropriate methods and use them effectively.